Post-2020 Climate and Energy Package
Overall, the European Union’s current climate and energy policy framework is an excellent example of how Europe can work together on a common strategy on energy issues.
The framework aims at reducing the impact of climate change, gaining energy independence, creating industrial growth and providing better environmental solutions to our energy demands.
However, greater ambition is urgently needed and there are some issues which need to be addressed in the development of the 2030 framework.
The framework should be modified so that:
- Ambition levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) savings are significantly raised
- A legally binding energy efficiency target is introduced
- Binding national targets for renewable energy are maintained and ambition is raised to ensure a robust policy and stable investment framework
- A sector-specific renewable energy target for renewable energy in transport is scrapped
The amount of energy that biomass can contribute to post-2020 targets is limited to what can be supplied by the EU’s maximum sustainable potential of domestic biomass feedstock
Read more about BirdLife Europe's work on Energy and Climate Change issues.
Role of Bioenergy in Post-2020 Energy Mix
Bioenergy and biomass can contribute to the post-2020 targets, but its sustainable availability is not endless and hence should be limited. The level of this limit should be fixed on the basis of the EU’s maximum sustainable potential of domestic biomass feedstock supply, taking into consideration competing uses in other sectors.
The EU must prioritise energy saving for a number of reasons, including that it reduces the need for biomass in the energy sector. Biomass policy should also prioritise demand reduction and ensure that biomass is supplied and used with maximum efficiency. The principle of ‘cascading use’ should be applied. The efficient, sustainable use of small-scale bioenergy in rural communities, carried out to enhance biodiversity and resilience, should be encouraged.
In order to ensure that only sustainable forms of bioenergy are promoted, robust sustainability criteria which covers environmental and social impacts will be needed. The sustainability criteria must ensure that biomass use does not have negative effects on biodiversity. In particular, the production of biomass must not cause direct or indirect destruction or degradation of natural forests or other habitats with high value for their biodiversity.
Biomass that receives support and subsidies under EU law should be subject to comprehensive accounting of greenhouse gas emissions and deliver real emission savings. It is imperative that this methodology takes carbon debt into account and addresses errors in the way carbon is currently counted, which effectively treats all bioenergy as ‘zero carbon'.